DeAndre Kane is a 25-year old free agent from Iowa State. He was left undrafted after the initial 60 selections were chosen. Iowa State is a great basketball program, led by Coach Fred Hoiberg. They play a hard-nosed, uptempo game prided on transition baskets, dribble-penetration, and tough interior play.
DeAndre Kane is the point guard for that program. At 6’4″ 200lbs., he has elite size for the point guard position. This allowed him to out-power defenders while attacking the basket, using good foot speed and ball-handling ability to finish at the rim. He grabbed a lot of attention after he graduated from Marshall University.
While Kane’s production in terms of raw numbers has stayed relatively consistent from last season, a deeper examination finds that he has taken a significant leap in becoming a more efficient player. Although his minutes are down from 37 to a much more manageable 32 per game, his per-40 pace adjusted production has increased notably, in terms of scoring (16.3 to 19.4) and rebounding (4.5 to 8.4), while his 2-point (48% to 58%) and 3-point percentages (25% to 35.9%) have shot up dramatically as well.
This led to a high-octane offense. His ability to draw fouls and finish at the rim skyrocketed. The NBA was watching.
During the Vegas Pro League, he showed some of his NBA-caliber talent. Admittedly, he played out of position, usually at a small forward or a shooting guard slot. Jordan Clarkson stole the show all week at the Vegas Pro League and showcased some natural point-guard abilities. Later into the week, Kane finally got to play quality minutes at the point guard slot. This is what it looked like.
The video demonstrates his natural scoring skills well. He was an excellent 3-point shooter at Iowa State. He loves to get the ball in the high-post position and overpower his defender to the rim. On dribble penetration, he has good footspeed, but relies on his upper-body strength to knock his defender off-balance and get to the rim. What he excels at best is transition. While he’s not a dynamic ball-handler at the point guard spot, he finishes well at the basket despite some adversity from opposing defenders, still in front of him. During pick-and-roll situations, his success rate increased dramatically when he called the screens at the 3-point line instead of two feet behind it. When the screen was high, he looked lost; too far away to get to the cup, the roll-man was too far from the cup, and didn’t draw enough defensive attention to open up a corner shooter.
His playmaking could be considered average for a point guard. He uses pick and roll plays and does a good job of hitting the roll-man or finding a shooter. While that is the trend of modern NBA offenses, it would be nice to see playmaking through more dynamic offensive sets. Coach Byron Scott may implement the Princeton Offense slowly, and Kane’s triple threat skills may excel under that system. His versatility in terms of ball-handling, passing, and perimeter shooting would go far in a structured offense.
Defensively, Kane looked solid during the Vegas Pro League. While he did get beat a few times off-the-dribble, the physical tools of his strength and 6’8″ wingspan can help force turnovers down the line. It would be very impressive to see him switch between both the point guard and shooting guard positions defensively to fit team needs.
While Kane’s play throughout the Vegas Pro League was inconsistent, his body of work at Iowa State is enough to warrant a shot at training camp. His assist-to-turnover ratio was nearly 2:1 during the Vegas Pro League, which speaks volumes of his ability to protect the basketball, despite playing multiple positions. Good basketball IQ is required to make offensive systems work. There’s nothing wrong with taking a graduate student from Iowa State. After all, his transformation in the past two years is a reflection of his work ethic, basketball IQ, and commitment to the game.